• Barbara Butrica, senior research associate, Program on Retirement Policy, Urban Institute
• Teresa Ghilarducci, director, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, New School for Social
• Mark Iwry, deputy assistant secretary for retirement and health policy, U.S. Department of the
• David John, senior research fellow, Heritage Foundation
• Sheila Zedlewski, Institute fellow, Income and Benefits Policy Center, Urban Institute (moderator)
Low-income workers dreaming of a placid retirement may have to envision a very unsettled future. About 40 percent of all wage and salary workers age 25–59 are in jobs that don’t offer retirement plans, research from the Urban Institute’s Program on Retirement Policy shows. A quarter of Social Security beneficiaries depend on their monthly checks, which average only about $1,200, for 90 percent or more of their total income. And in a two-year span, 1 in 12 retirement account owners -- especially blacks, those without college degrees, and those with little or no assets -- withdraw part or all of their accounts.
This forum will explore ways to help low-income workers boost their retirement savings, including expanding their access to employer-sponsored defined benefit and defined contribution plans and instituting automatic individual retirement accounts. Retirement plan defaults and pension reform are also on the agenda.
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